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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,481.05) is fractionally higher, as it feels the effects of intraday losses from Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) and The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA). On the economic front, the Commerce Department said the trade deficit widened by 15.8% to $48.73 billion in November, disappointing economists who were expecting a decrease to $41.20 billion. The latest figure was impacted by a 3.8% rise in U.S. imports, versus a 1% climb in exports. Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 13.54) is 0.1 point, or 0.4%, higher.

Here are a few noteworthy stats at midday:

  1. The equity put/call volume ratio across all 11 options exchanges checks in at 0.89, with 3.4 million calls crossing the tape so far today, compared to 3.1 million puts.

  2. Among the equities with heavy call activity is Forest Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:FRX - 37.98), which has added nearly 2% -- and tagged a new annual high of $38.45 -- on an upgrade to "neutral" from "sell" by Goldman Sachs. Currently, calls account for 96.9% of the security's intraday option volume.

  3. The put/call volume ratio on the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (NYSEARCA:VXX - 26.66) sits at 1.47, with puts outstripping calls.

  4. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) shows an advance/decline ratio of 0.73, with the number of downward movers outpacing the advancers.

  5. Among the NYSE's major decliners is Aeropostale, Inc. (NYSE:ARO - 12.53), which has shed around 5.4% in intraday action. The teen apparel retailer was hammered with bearish attention this morning after reporting an 8% decline in holiday same-store sales, which prompted ARO to reduce its fourth-quarter earnings outlook. Specifically, RBC lowered its price target to $24 from $30, while Jefferies, Keybanc, and Imperial Capital also issued downward price-target adjustments.
Unusual Option Volume at Midday

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